Text Expander: A little tool to save hours of typing

Over time I download and install many helpful utilities to my Mac. Some I completely forget about them and fall into the trap of believing that their behind-the-scenes benevolence is actually something built in to OS X.

Lightroom CC and the disappearing Nik Collection

Since I upgraded to Lightroom Creative Cloud subscription-based applications my Nik Software plugins have been working flawlessly. Right click on an image, go to "Edit In" and the full list of available plugins was presented. Last weekend, however, I noticed that all, with the exception of Color Efex Pro for some reason, had disappeared from the Edit dialogue box. I immediate suspected foul play involving a big dose of housekeeping done the previous day.

Life without Instapaper: A real pain in the newsfeed

Life goes on smoothly as long as our systems keen on working. But when something goes wrong we begin to ponder the prospect of a Stone Age existence. Mike ponders on.....

Subscriptions: Ulysses joins the growing band of drip-feeders

Are you becoming irritated by the trend to subscription pricing for software? It is beginning to become a nuisance, with dozens of suppliers drip feeding on our bank accounts. Mike wonders if enough is enough following yesterday's news from Ulysses.....

Amazon adds $79 Kindle reader for good measure

Amazon’s ridiculous pricing continues with a $79 e-ink Kindle reader

Things 3.0: At last I found my organisational soul mate

I have a new best friend and helpmate. It is called Things. In a few months it has become the focal point of my workflow. I feel decidedly better organised and on top of things. But this was not always so…..

Workflow: The humble typewriter through rose-coloured glasses

Notebooks, typewriters, fountain pens: All should by rights be dead, foully killed off by the computer. But they live on.....

Windows Mobile: It started with an iPAQ in the back row of the movies

Ipaq3700Author: Michael Evans

I'm grateful to Engadget and Michael Gartenberg for reminding me that we've just passed the tenth anniversary of Windows Mobile. Microsoft introduced the new OS on 19 April 2000 in New York and set the scene for the PDA (personal digital assistant) for at least the next seven years, until the iPhone changed the world. Since then it's been a downward slippery path for WM, although Microsoft is now putting its efforts into Windows Phone 7 and early reports look promising.

I remember all this distinctly because I was front of the queue for one of the original Compaq iPAQs. It was a great device, I thought at the time, and the answer to my dreams of portable computing. It had a very nifty dock for the desk and it could be equipped with a variety of plastic sleeves--a bit like today's iPhone battery cases--that offered expansion facilities such as PCMCIA and Compact Flash cards.

Later models of the iPAQ including phone capabilities and was wedded to one of these for a whole year. It wasn't the most wieldy of phones, of course, but it made a good stab at doing the sort of PIM and communications tasks we now take for granted in the iPhone. But I remember it mostly for a very expensive incident when I had stowed the phone in the pannier of my motorcycle for a 200-mile trip. For some unfathomable reason vibration caused the phone repeatedly to dial the last number called. This number, unfortunately, was on the other side of Europe and I subsequently received an eye-watering phone bill. They say we live and learn....

I was loyal to Windows Mobile until two years ago when I finally gave in to pressure from the iPhone. Later PDA/phones such as the Treo 750 were a great improvement on the earlier devices, had a good keyboard and were pretty svelte. But synchronisation, particularly with Mac, was never super smooth. 

The original Windows Mobile and the iPAQ, HP Jornado and Casio, represented a huge step forward in 2000. For the first time it was possible to have your office in your pocket. Now we have the whole world in our pocket.

Read Michael Gartenberg's full article here

Learn the top ten Mac keyboard shortcuts in ten minutes

Many new Mac users seldom use keyboard shortcuts. Even frequent actions such as cut and paste are laboriously handled from the menu...

iCloud Drive: The danger with Optimised Storage file placeholders

iCloud Drive works seamlessly, but did you know that it is easy to lose your data forever if you move files to an another location, such as Dropbox?